Authors: Kris Norris
A Total-E-Bound Publication
ISBN # 978-1-78184-368-0
©Copyright Kris Norris 2013
Cover Art by Oliver Bennett ©Copyright June 2013
Edited by Stacey Birkel
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Total-E-Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2013 by Total-E-Bound Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, United Kingdom.
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
This story contains 166 pages, additionally there is also a
at the end of the book containing 10 pages.
Book three of the ’Til Death Series
Another dead body—another victim of convicted serial killer, John Davies. There’s just one problem—Davies is dead.
Special Agent Mallory Reeves knows there must be a logical explanation for the body uncovered in a back alley of Seattle’s urban district. The markings, the pose, the evidence—it all points to one man—John Davies. But seeing as Davies was just executed for his crimes, the new case appears to be the work of a ghost.
Unfortunately, Davies isn’t the only invisible man in Mallory’s life. Just her luck, the Bureau wants another agent added to the team, one who worked the original case. And it’s no coincidence that it’s Sawyer Kent—her estranged husband.
Special Agent Sawyer Kent has a lot of questions and few answers, including if he’s even got a shot at regaining the affection of the woman he loves. It seems a feat more impossible than the case they’re working, especially since it doesn’t look as if Mallory’s in the mood to welcome him back home.
But when the killer starts evolving, adding nuances to his crimes that are aimed directly at Mallory, Sawyer’s left with only one course of action. Find the bastard before she becomes his next victim.
To my brother, Norm. Thanks for listening to all my endless chatter about serial killers without suggesting I check myself into the psychiatric ward.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Jeep: Chrysler Corporation LLC
Scooby Doo: Hanna Barbera Productions
Kevlar: E.I. DuPont Company
Motrin: E.I. DuPont Company
: Paramount Pictures, MGM
Sherlock Holmes: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Taser: Taser International
Glock: Glock, Inc. Corporation
: Universal Pictures
Men in Black
: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Band-Aid: Johnson & Johnson
“You know, Mallory, if you don’t stop fussing with your shirt, I won’t be the only person in this room who knows that just being here is making your skin crawl.”
Special Agent Mallory Reeves gritted her teeth as she released the fabric, glaring at her partner over her shoulder. Agent Cole Stevens smiled back at her, giving her a wink. Damn the man. Sometimes he was simply too cocky for his own good.
She turned to face him, allowing her shoulders to rest against the wall behind her. “Are you honestly going to stand there and tell me you enjoy being here?” She waved her hand at the small crowd gathered in the stuffy room. “It’s like a fucking morgue.”
“It’s an execution. It’s supposed to feel like a morgue. It’s also one of the quickest turnarounds in history. I still can’t believe Davies refused to appeal, if for nothing more than to drag this out longer. He could have easily spent the next decade in prison.”
“Davies is sick. Nothing about him surprises me.” She huffed, glancing at the people sitting in the front row. “And justified or not, his death won’t bring them the peace they’re hoping for.”
“Maybe not. But sometimes closure is enough.”
She swung her gaze back to Cole. “Would it be enough for you?”
“If it’d been my daughter that bastard had raped and killed?” He shook his head, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “I would have found a way to pull the trigger myself. But it wasn’t, and I didn’t let it get personal with this creep.” He tilted his head slightly, letting his focus drop towards her ribcage. “I think the real question is…will it be enough for you?”
Mallory shrugged, trying to ignore the way the scar below her right ribs ached suddenly. “He stabbed me, Cole. He didn’t rape me, or kill anyone I loved.”
Cole gave her another smug smile. “Right. You didn’t lose anything over this case but a litre or two of blood.”
She cursed under her breath as he turned towards the covered window centred on the far wall. He obviously knew better than to mention Sawyer’s name, but there was no mistaking the insinuation, and no denying the sudden flutter in her heart at the thought of her estranged husband.
. How bloody ironic.
A secret wedding followed by an equally secret separation. And she didn’t even remember the first part. But to make matters worse, while they’d been lovers for months, they’d never truly consummated their marriage, not to mention the fact she hadn’t said more than a few heated words to him since he’d jumped ship two years ago, taking his life and her heart with him. And all because of that one night… That one miscalculation that had not only ended the case but had nearly cost Mallory her life.
She released a slow breath but couldn’t stop from searching the crowd again—reassuring herself he wasn’t there. Though she felt certain he’d received the same notice, she’d known from the start he wouldn’t make an appearance. Not here. Not for this.
Cole tapped her shoulder, motioning towards the window again. A low hiss of static sounded over the PA system, followed by the tell-tale scrape of metal on metal as the curtains pulled apart, casting a bright glare into the room. Just her luck that Washington State had finally caved to judicial pressure and allowed full disclosure of the event instead of the usual précised version. She could have handled having the bastard already strapped to the gurney with the IVs hooked up.
A hushed whisper rippled through the crowd as a set of large silver doors opened and a lone prisoner was escorted into the cubicle, his white scrubs nearly florescent in the harsh light. He looked exactly as she remembered him—long black hair slicked back from his face, deep lines around his mouth and across his forehead and the coldest grey eyes she’d ever seen. Every time she’d caught his gaze it’d been like looking at death.
John Davies shuffled to a halt, a cruel smile twisting his lips as he surveyed the gathering of people seated behind the glass. His gaze found hers and his smile flourished, flashing a set of crooked teeth. He didn’t hide his contempt, just stared at her, eyes narrowed, his hands clenched into fists in front of him. She held his stare, vowing he’d be the first to look away. The unspoken challenge lasted several seconds until one of the guards pushed him forward, making him stumble slightly. He glared at the man over his shoulder, pulling his lips into a snarl, but the guard merely shrugged, angling Davies towards the gurney.
A cold fist settled in her stomach as she watched him climb onto the crisp, white sheets, his sadistic smile still firmly in place. Emotions she couldn’t quite understand roiled through her, and she fought the sudden urge to run. She’d promised Cole, and her boss, she’d make an appearance—show Davies he hadn’t beaten her—but as the guards reached for the straps at his wrists, tightening the leather bands around the thin expanse of flesh, she wasn’t sure she could stay.
Mallory held her ground, trying to keep her focus on the event unfolding inside the sterile room, but she could feel a dark weight pressing down on her. She forced in a few quick breaths, not meeting Cole’s gaze when he glanced at her, worry creasing his face. He mumbled something she didn’t hear, turning to face her just as her cell rang. The hard beat of the music echoed through the silent room, drawing several disapproving glares. She winced, muttering an apology to Cole as she pulled the phone free and headed for the double doors just off to her left.
“Mallory. Fisher. Sorry to call. I know the timing sucks.”
Mallory inhaled a much-needed breath as the door shut behind her, blocking out the last of her thoughts about Davies. Some of the tension eased from her shoulders as she leaned against the wall beside the closed door, thankful for the unexpected reprieve. “Actually, your timing is perfect. What’s up?”
A heavy sigh sounded on the other end, followed by an eerie silence.
She pushed off the wall, trying to ignore the rash of goose bumps that prickled down her arm. “Fisher?”
“We’ve got a body—Harbor Street—and…you really need to see this.”
Mallory frowned just as the door whooshed open, nearly knocking her over. She looked across her shoulder as Cole stopped and stared at her, his face clearly displaying his concern. He moved to her other side.
“You do realise we’re four hours away, right? Can’t someone else field it?”
“I’m more than aware of where you are, but, the body, it’s… Shit. You gotta see this to believe it. You, not another agent. And bring Cole. You’re gonna need him. I’ll wait for you two.” Fisher breathed heavily into the phone again. “And Mal…this can’t wait. Hell, it might already be too late.”
“Too late? Fisher?” The line went dead. Her frown intensified as she pulled the cell away and shoved it in her pocket. It wasn’t Fisher’s style to be so cryptic, which meant she wasn’t going to like whatever was waiting for her.
Cole motioned to her. “Care to share, or were you unhappy with the company in there?”
Mallory huffed, ignoring his dig. “Fisher wants us down at Harbor Street…something about a body we need to see. He says it’s urgent.”
Cole resisted her nudge, glancing back at the closed door. “We came for a reason, Mallory. Fisher can wait until we’re done here. These things usually don’t take more than half an hour, unless something goes wrong. And despite what he thinks, the body isn’t going anywhere.” He gave her a slow sweep. “Unless there’s another reason you don’t want to go back in?”